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Saturday, January 19, 2008

hunger... life...


André "Dédé" Fortin

1962-2000

On the 8th of May 2000, the Montreal music scene lost one of it's poets. André "Dédé" Fortin was the singer of the band "Les Colocs" (which is a term you hear a lot in and around Montreal, it means a roomate or flatmate for the Brits) and he left no one indifferent when he performed. His songs were extremely personal and often times, transparently autobiographical. When you listened, you felt like you were getting to know him. His death was a great loss to his fans, because we truly felt we had lost a friend we knew well.

He directed this video for "La Rue Principale" (Main Street) released in 1993. He named the street in the song after the main drag in his hometown of Saint-Thomas-Didyme, la rue Saint-Cyrille.



He had a boyish charm, a Peter Pan quality to him. This song is entitled... "Dédé"



But there lurked a dark shadow near him, a silent menace.

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.”
- Richard Wright


He performed this song at a festival in July 1999, about 10 months before taking his own life. I wish I could do it justice by translating the words, his story, for you... If you only watch one of the videos, let it be this one.. and please watch. Don't read ahead.

"Le répondeur" (The Answering Machine)



"j'te dis qu'à soir dans mon p'tit coeur, y fait frette"
which can be summed up as:
Tonight, in my little heart... it's frickin cold.

"Frette" in colloquial or joual French refers to the kind of cold that stings your cheeks, makes your eyes squint and water and freezes any tears that form right at your eyelashes... frickin cold. The cold you imagine resides down in the deepest midnight blue waters of a lake. Where light never shines and life is a struggle.

I realized watching it over and over, that you really need not understand what words he's singing... all you need is the melody and to watch his eyes, his expression, to hear the tone of his voice. That smile at the end kills me... So many of us wish we could have wrapped him up in a safe warm woobie and given him a reason to smile, to love, to live, to sing to us, to be. To have given him the hunger for life.

Dédé suffered from Depression.

I know what that feels like... I experienced it after having The Chicklet. But she was my lifeline, my woobie, my light... and she kept me from going to that dark place where you let the cold numb you into a deep and permanent slumber. The slumber which provides relief from the sharp needles that stop shy of drawing blood but are relentless and ever present.

I've ended so many of my previous posts by "pushing" FreeRice and asking you to help, to do your part to feed those who have next to nothing. You know, it amazes me that people who have so little to look forward to, who struggle to just make it through another day, who feel a hunger that is so real, fight so hard to stay alive. To wake up and see another day.

Dédé didn't have any fight left. And we lost.

I hope it's warm where he is now, that his heart isn't cold anymore.

Please, to calm the hunger of the poor... play the game.

And if you have some change to spare or some time to give, donate to your local suicide helpline or a suicide prevention foundation and help give someone like Dédé the hunger for another day.

If you stumble upon this post and you've lost that hunger, please remember:

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
- Charles Austin Beard




Dédé, je t'aime tout court. Tu me manques.

Love you all more than my luggage!
Hugs, smooches and gropes!

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Comments on "hunger... life..."

 

Blogger Travis said ... (6:25 PM) : 

The first song had such joy in the melody, and even though I didn't understand the words, the feeling of fun was there. I didn't understand the words of the last song either, but I saw what you meant about his eyes and the sound of his voice.

It's a very sad thing that the person responsible for that happy sound, ended in such pain.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (8:40 PM) : 

Travis: When I look back at his art with hindsight, I can't help but see it getting darker. And it's too late for any of us to do anything for him. We can only focus on the ones we can still reach out to and hope they'll take our hand.

The last song is about loneliness... and it's telling that although he was surrounded by friends and family, he still felt disconnected from it all.

He was the same age I am now when he took his own life, and there is still so much ahead. So very sad...

 

Blogger Jeff B said ... (9:54 PM) : 

I've wondered before what brings a person to the point of taking their own life and I'm sure the people around them wonder what they could have done to prevent it from going that far.

When I see that impish smile at the end of the last song and now know how his life ended it makes it even more sad.

Thanks for sharring part of his story with us.

 

Blogger buffalodickdy said ... (7:34 AM) : 

You can be all alone, and not feel lonely... You can be in a crowded room and feel very lonely. Odd primates, these humans..

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (8:19 AM) : 

Jeff: People who have had failed attempts will probably give you varying answers. Someone once told me anything was better than the pain he was feeling. His family started a foundation, so that maybe others would have a shot at getting the help Dédé didn't.

I know what you mean about the smile, so very tragic.

Buffalodickdy: How very true.

 

Blogger Akelamalu said ... (9:08 AM) : 

Depression is a terrible thing. :(

 

Blogger Charles Gramlich said ... (12:55 PM) : 

the question "Why" is so inadequate under these circumstances. It's always tragic when such a creative life is cut short by the artist's own choice.

 

Blogger the108 said ... (1:58 PM) : 

This is a beautiful post.... I've never heard that quote by Charles Austin Beard before but I love love love it.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (4:04 PM) : 

akelamalu: that it is...

Charles: I just don't think he had the answer to the really important question: "Why not?"...

Kyra: Thank you sweetie... It is a wonderful thought isn't it? SMOOCH!

 

Blogger Mimi Lenox said ... (5:36 PM) : 

I watched til the end and you're right. His countenance was so sad. You could hear the pain.

Such a loss.

 

Blogger Roger said ... (12:06 AM) : 

What a great artist, we have lost another good one.

 

Blogger Bond said ... (8:24 AM) : 

As Travis said...there was such joy and life in the first two songs...a frivolity to his music and then to watch the third video, you could feel his anguish...his yearning for something more...from the opening chords...so different

TY for introducing us to this poor soul...It is unfortunate that he suffered and was lost to those who loved him and to those who never had a chance to do so...

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (9:47 AM) : 

Mimi: It's painful to watch. He was bearing his soul yet no one was able to help him.

Roger: He was still so young and had so much to offer yet.

Vince: Chicklet heard his music for the first time this weekend and loved it. So much of the early work had that sense of joy. Like Jeff said, that impish smile at the end of the last song... that combined with the loneliness in his eyes, the pain evident in his voice are just almost too sad to bear.

 

Blogger Dana said ... (6:20 PM) : 

As someone who suffers from depression, I know how hard it is and how suicide can often seem like the answer. Thank you for sharing his story.

 

Blogger Bud Weiser, WTIT said ... (8:08 PM) : 

A fitting tribute. Well done!

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (8:39 PM) : 

Dana: I know darlin'... smooch

Bud: Thank you Sir!

 

Blogger barbara said ... (3:21 AM) : 

Salut Anndi ;)
I'am bilingual, but I'am going to leave this in English, as the comments are.

This is my first time here, and I'am very moved by your tribute to Dédé Fortin... and your very deep message around him.
My first time hearing Dédé's music. In France where I live, we don't get all of your artists.

I have never suffered from chronic depression, but I still relate through my Dad.He suffered from emotional problems during most of his adult life, and YES; have been up there and down there with him.
You did a great post.
Toutes mes sincères salutations envoyées de la France.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (6:16 AM) : 

Barbara: Thank you for taking the time to listen.
Dédé's family started a suicide helpline in 2006 and a foundation. Through it they hope to provide assistance to others like Dédé.

On their website they state some disturbing statistics. Every year in Quebec, 1200 people commit suicide. When you take into consider their friends and loved ones, suicide touches 700 000 people annually.

I'm one of the loved ones who has been affected by such a loss.

His story, his music are precious and he left us far too soon.

Merci Barbara. Ton commentaire me touche particulièrement. À bientôt!

 

Blogger Real Live Lesbian said ... (11:18 AM) : 

Beautiful post!

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

Very well said!

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (11:58 AM) : 

RLL: After reading your blog this morning (and crying my eyes out), you have no idea how much I appreciate your comment.

Thanks sweetie... glad you're around to come and visit.

SMOOCH

 

Blogger Julie said ... (1:49 PM) : 

Hmm so very sad.

But I wanted to tell you that you can cheer me up too. I have an award for you. Go and pick it up today!

*hugs*

 

Blogger Meribah said ... (5:59 PM) : 

Oftentimes, mental pain is worse than physical pain. And it can be so very difficult to reach out.
Hugs to you, my friend.

 

Blogger Anndi said ... (9:20 PM) : 

Julie: Awwwwwwwww.. thank you!

Meribah: So true dear friend. HUGS

 

Blogger COCO said ... (1:15 PM) : 

Please visit Coco's blog, and spread the word if you can. Thank you. - Mac

 

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